The expression, You can start your day over at any time is wise and true but for whatever reason, it feels better, easier, more apt somehow, to ‘reset’ after a night’s sleep, fresh, on a new day. Or at the end of the weekend, Monday, a new week. Or on the first of the month. It’s like an empty shelf, an uncluttered table, a fresh page, palimpsest, wiped clean.
My little office has been a wreck since the end of the summer when I went through the playroom and homeschool supplies and cleared out all the little kid stuff as well as the stuff that Tito, face it, was simply not going to do, with me or on his own. I gave away most of it but the art supplies: molds and beeswax for candle making, clay and plaster, paints, whole punches, beautiful scraps of paper, decorate-your-own frames/puzzles/stickers, books on papier mâché, origami, how to draw, etc., etc., which got dumped in my office to deal with later.
And then the shit hit the fan.
The shit didn’t care about the daily stuff and all its accoutrements, or the tragic stuff and its accompanying despair, or the diet overhaul stuff like entirely giving up grains and sugar, or the holiday stuff of birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas. The shit just came and hit the fan day after day and soon I was pushing aside stacks and piles just enough to shuffle along a tiny path from my office door to my desk where I’d shove aside more things just enough to make a tiny space for my coffee.
(You have to sort of admire shit. It just comes at that fan–shwatt–no matter the circumstance. That’s some equal opportunity shit.)
I tried to face the mess a number of times. It was scene from a sitcom: I’d open the door, take in the scene, poker faced, beat, beat, then step backward, close the door, walk away. Not gonna happen today.
But the issue was, the situation remained. It was there behind the door. I knew it. I felt it when I walked by. It even made a kind of sound, different depending on the day. A whimpering, a growl, insane muttering. I’d still open the door almost daily, shuffle to my desk, operate the email and the facebook and even the printer to some degree, or paw through books, sticky notes, newspapers, etc., in search of my ringing phone, all the while tuning out my surroundings, letting the periphery go fuzzy.
People offered to help me with it. I tore those tabs off a few flyers (The Declutter Queen! Whatever You Need! Personal Slave!) but it wasn’t about that, about outside of me, a person, book, idea, plan to find order. The clutter, the confusion, it was inside. Someone could come help me, in theory, but I’d need to be involved, yes? to make decisions, respond, direct.
I’ve never been a deer in the headlights person. Never. Not to say what I did when I dove into action was always productive or helpful but I’m a hit the ground running kind of a gal. So this brain freeze, inner paralysis, was new. Weird. And it started to spread.
There was plenty I still got to, the basics, certainly what I needed to do for Tito. But there was also a lot of standing around staring, wondering how to get my body to do something it didn’t feel like doing, like the dishes or the dinner or the folding of clothes. I’d stand there, looking at my clothes on the floor and then look some more. Sometimes I would say, what my friend Kim says when she’s at her limit, “I can’t.” Or when she’s really had it: “I can’t with the canting. I just can’t.” Or when she’s feeling a bit more formal: “I cannot.”
I think it’s how Tito feels a lot of the time. That’s the good news. It’s helped me gain some perspective, some understanding, insight, compassion. It’s pretty interesting, really, when I stop to think about it. Huh. It’s like entering a new part of my brain, a realm that is faster than fast, so fast that it can’t move, so fast that it stops. Something from an Oliver Sacks story, Awakenings, The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat. Or rather, The Woman Who Simply Could Not.